Tech Net 2011

Jessamyn West
printable version of this information

Getting Started

The best defense is a good DIPS!

Establish a baseline normal

Appearances matter

Envision your model patrons and how their needs vary

First Steps, Ask

PEBKAC, explained


The basic troubleshoot is to replace each cable one at a time with known working cables until you've isolated the problem, if you can. Do you know who to call if there is a problem outside your immediate area, upstream provider? ISP?

Basic Troubleshooting

Hardware Troubleshooting

Software troubleshooting

Troubleshooting: The Web

"My Yahoo is broken."
- know how to debug an email address and a web address and a link
  • no funny characters except the @
  • the little squiggle is a tilde
  • standard endings for URLs and email
"Where's my web page?"
- look for error codes: 404, 401, &c.
- look for common URL spellings and know how your browser deals with them (IE may search from the address bar, for example)
- look for capitalization
- look for broken links if someone's clicking through from an email
"What am I supposed to do here?"
- remember that new users read every web page all the way through
- try to teach them to look for action buttons or links
- you are not responsible for all the bad web design in the world.
Reality testing: "My bank needs me to enter my social security number...." "I want to sell this on Ebay in 45 minutes."
- How to mouseover a link to see where it really goes
- What is phishing

Troubleshooting: Uploading/Downloading

"Nothing happened"
popup blocker
do you even allow downloading?
is there a hidden "save as" window someplace?
"Where is my file?"
well what's it called?
where did you put it?
set default downloads location that isn't the INTERNET cache.
sometimes you can look on the Documents menu.
Search by time when all else fails
"My attachment won't attach"
attaching takes time and usually one too many steps,
sometimes you need to know the letter of the drive if you're using a firewallish thing like Deep Freeze
yes you have to click "open" to attach something, no it makes no sense.
"This attachment is like a brick on my desktop!"
explain the "must have application" aspects to attachments

Troubleshooting: Microsoft Word

"The computer keeps changing what I type"
is autocorrect turned on?
remember to check both places]
"It says go to file print but there IS NO FILE PRINT."
menu hiding?
disable that entirely if you can, make sure they understand three step menus.
the printbutton does NOT do what the print command does
"Make that paper clip go away forever."
the office assistant can be hid one time, per session, generally, or removed entirely from your word install

Troubleshooting: Printers

(note: a lot of this varies depending on the printer)
"I want to print just what I'm looking at."
make sure they get that a web page is just one big long page
check to see if you have a "print selection" option
"My document doesn't fit on the page."
see if there is a "print this page" option
there should be a way to scale pages when printing, usually by percentages or just "fit on page"
sometimes you can span multiple pages, sometimes this just won't work
"I can't afford all these pages."
2-up printing! hard to read but saves paper

Computer 911

90% of all repairable tech support problems can be solved by a "do over" This means...

The other 10% are usually a combination of

  • hardware problems
  • software conflicts
  • incorrect or problematic system or software settings
  • gremlins (actually, no)

    Occasionally something really breaks

  • computers should NOT smell like anything
  • they should not make clicking or clunking noises
  • they do not like coffee, sudden movements or lots of dust
  • if everyone seems to be off the network you do not have to troubleshoot your own network problems, for example.

    What you should make note of if you do need to ask for help

    Things You Can Do

    Look at support websites

    Talk to your colleagues

    Know what's possible

    Know what's prevented, and why

    Have a system

    Keep a sense of humor